Monsanto ( MON) reaffirmed Wednesday that it expected to earn $1.40 to $1.50 a share for its fiscal year ending Aug. 31, guidance well below the consensus estimates of analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

The suburban St. Louis-based maker of farm chemicals and genetically engineered seeds said its guidance excludes the impact of restructuring, discontinued operations associated with restructuring, and goodwill write-offs. On a reported basis and including the restructuring charges and the goodwill write-off, the company said fiscal year guidance is in the range of 55 cents to 65 cents.

"With the North American planting season approaching, most of our seeds and traits are completed, giving us a strong start to our fiscal year," said Hugh Grant, Monsanto's chairman and CEO, in a prepared statement. He added that he believes the company's EPS will fall in the mid- to high range of its fiscal year EPS prediction.

Although the company's EPS guidance is below his $1.70 estimate, UBS analyst Andrew Cash said Monday that management is showing "greater confidence" in its financial prospects. Cash, who has a buy rating on the stock, said he believes the company is being conservative in its estimates. (He doesn't own shares and his firm doesn't have an investment banking relationship with Monsanto.)

For example, Cash said in a research note Wednesday, the company had guided to 61 cents EPS for ongoing operations for the second quarter, but it produced 70 cents for the quarter ended Feb. 29, excluding one-time charges. The second-quarter earnings of 70 cents handily beat the EPS consensus of 57 cents, according to Thomson First Call.

Excluding one-time charges, Monsanto earned $154 million, or 57 cents a share, for the second quarter compared to earnings of $100 million, or 38 cents, for the same period last year. Revenue rose 15% to $1.49 billion.

Monsanto's shares were up 13 cents to $36.01.

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